21:43 Live! AAP releases second list of probable candidates:
The Aam Aadmi Party today issued its second list of 44 probable candidates including party leader Gopal Rai and a daily wager for 10 more constituencies in Delhi assembly elections scheduled later this year.
A total of 84 candidates had applied for 10 constituencies, namely Babarpur, Bawana, Chhatarpur, Gokulpur, Krishna Nagar, Laxmi Nagar, Mustafabad, Rajouri Garden, Shalimar Bagh and Vishwas Nagar.
The Screening Committee comprising seven people went through each and every application and finalised the list after interacting with the applicants personally, a AAP spokesperson said.
The shortlisted candidates include a daily wage earner, doctors, businessman and a party worker who has now shifted to Australia.
20:56 Which minister is writing his memoir?: One
Union minister has begun writing his memoirs, which will be released in August 2014. The book is expected to simmer with inside facts about what transpired during the UPA's tenure in power and could tar its political leadership. The tell-all may especially be embarrassing for Dr Manmohan Singh. Even if he does not remain prime minister after the next Lok Sabha election, Dr Singh will be a member of the Rajya Sabha till 2019.
20:52 A K Antony, now India's longest serving Raksha Mantri:
Arackaparambil Kurien Antony is now India's longest-serving defence minister having served in the post for 6 years and 9 months without a break. Jagjivan Ram, likely the finest Raksha Mantri India has ever had, served for 6 years and 8 months, but with two
breaks in tenure. The controversial V K Krishna Menon served
as defence minister for 4 years and 7 months before his term was brutally cut
short by the debacle of 1962 when India was vanquished by China in an unnecessary war.
20:49 What does Jaitley have?: Arun Jaitley, the Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha, we hear, plans to reveal documents that will embarrass the government during the monsoon session of Parliament. These disclosures, a source tells us, will not only stall Parliament, but also be the dominant talking point on the news television channels (not that they need Mr Jaitley's imminent expose :))
19:41 Live! Trinamool Congress a 'barbarian' regime: Congress:
Terming the Trinamool Congress regime as one of the most 'barbaric' West Bengal has seen, the Congress today alleged it was not serious in dealing with crimes against women.
"The Trinamool Congress government is not at all serious in dealing with crimes against women. It is a barbarian regime which has sent the law and order of the state into ICU," WBPCC president Pradip Bhattacharya said in the backdrop of the rape and murder of a college girl at Barasat in North 24 Parganas district.
"Since the Park Street rape, this government has been lethargic in taking action against the accused. That is why criminals are encouraged," Bhattacharya said. He also accused the Trinamool Congress of not allowing nominees of Congress to file nominations for the panchayat polls.
19:08 Live! AP speaker disqualifies 15 rebel MLAs from Cong, TDP:
Fifteen rebel MLAs belonging to Andhra Pradesh's ruling Congress and main opposition Telugu Desam Party were today disqualified for voting in favour of a no-confidence motion moved by TRS against the Kiran Kumar Reddy government in March this year.
These MLAs had defied party diktats. Nine belonged to Congress and six to TDP and they had joined YSR Congress of Y S Jaganmohan Reddy. The legislators were disqualified by state Assembly Speaker Nadendla Manohar under Rule 2 (1) (b) of the Tenth Schedule for voting on the against the party whip on the no-trust motion on March 15.
The Congress MLAs disqualified are Sujaya Krishna Ranga Rao, Dwarampudi Chandrasekhar Reddy, Alla Srinivas (Nani), M Rajesh, Perni Venkata Ramaiah (Nani), Jogi Ramesh, B Siva Prasad Reddy, Gottipati Ravi Kumar and Peddireddi Ramachandra Reddy.
18:39 Live! Pakistan summons US envoy over drone strike:
On the instructions of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, US Charge d' Affaires was summoned today by Pakistan's Foreign Office to lodge protest against a drone strike carried out in the restive tribal belt killing nine people.
The move comes two days after Sharif, who also holds foreign affairs portfolio, called for an end to the campaign by the CIA-operated spy planes.
"The US Charge d' Affaires, Ambassador Richard Hoagland, was summoned this afternoon to the Foreign Office by Special Assistant to the Prime Minister and Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Mr Tariq Fatemi to lodge a strong protest on the US drone strike carried out in North Waziristan on June 7, 2013," said a statement from the Foreign Office spokesman.
The protest was lodged on the instructions of the prime minister, the statement said.
17:22 Family to give Jiah's letter to cops on strained love affair:
Bollywood actress Jiah Khan's family has found a six-page note, in which she made a mention about her troubled love-affair with the son of an actor couple before committing suicide, police said today.
Jiah's family members, who found the note at their house, preferred to retain the original doubting police action, but has agreed to give notarised copy to the investigators, a police officer at Juhu police station said.
The gist of the note, which is yet to be received by police, reveals the strained relationship of the actress with Suraj Pancholi, son of actor couple Aditya Pancholi and Zarina Wahab, the officer added. "We would seek legal experts' opinion and an appropriate action would be initiated if required. As of now, we do not want to jump to any conclusion," the officer said and refused to comment if the note named Suraj.
Police will also take the help of handwriting experts to find out whether the letter was indeed written by Jiah herself, though the family claims that it was her handwriting.
According to reports, the note says, "You have cheated me. I trusted the relation. You didn't care about the relation. By the time you will be reading this letter, probably by then I won't be there in this world." The body of Jiah, 25, was found hanging at her 'Sagar Sangeet' residence in Juhu at around 11 PM on Monday, where she lived with her mother and sister, who were not present when she ended her life.
17:21 Girl gang-raped and killed in North 24 Parganas:
A girl was killed after being allegedly raped in North 24 Parganas district of West Bengal, after which a mob blocked road traffic and damaged the car of a ruling Trinamool Congress MP in protest against police's alleged inaction to save the victim.
The girl's body was found near a water body at Kirtipur with indications that she was killed after being raped, the sources said. Her parents had informed the police after she did not return home from college last evening.
The sources said the girl was suspected to have been taken away by miscreants after she alighted from a bus on her way home from college. One person was arrested and two others were detained following the rape and murder, they said. Local people alleged had the police acted in time after receiving complaints from the parents, the girl could have been rescued.
A mob set up a road blockade on the Kharibari-Rajarhat road at Barasat in the district halting traffic for several hours and stoned vehicles including two police jeeps, police sources said.
17:19 Google, Facebook deny compromising personal data:
Amidst an uproar in the US over the issue of government secretly tracking information on foreigners from Internet firms, Google and Facebook have categorically denied their participation in such a project.
Both the US-based technology giants said that their organisations were not aware about the existence of such a programme -- code-named PRISM -- until it hit national and international headlines.
In a post on his profile on Facebook yesterday, its founder Mark Zuckerberg said: "Facebook is not and has never been part of any program to give the US or any other government direct access to our servers. "We have never received a blanket request or court order from any government agency asking for information or metadata in bulk, like the one Verizon reportedly received. And if we did, we would fight it aggressively. We hadn't even heard of PRISM before yesterday." Similarly, Google Co-founder and CEO Larry Page and Chief Legal Officer David Drummond in a post on the search giant's official blog said: "First, we have not joined any program that would give the US government or any other government direct access to our servers. "
Indeed, the US government does not have direct access or a 'back door' to the information stored in our data centers. We had not heard of a program called PRISM until yesterday."
17:17 Live! BJP slams UPA govt on Naxal issue:
Ahead of the all-party meet called by the government to discuss the naxal situation, BJP today said it will serve no purpose unless a comprehensive strategy is devised to deal with the problem.
The main opposition party alleged that naxalism had spread over the last nine years because of "Congress' encouragement to the Maoist ideology."
"The all-party meeting has been called by the government on June 10. It will serve no purpose till a comprehensive strategy is unveiled to deal with the problem of naxalism," BJP spokesman Prakash Javadekar said after the issue came up at its National Executive meeting in Panaji against the backdrop of the recent Naxal attack in Chhattisgarh. The meeting condoled the death of Congress leaders and security personnel killed last month in Bastar, he said.
16:43 A tale of two destinies:
In an age of hyper-information and shrinking attention spans it has become easy for the cacophony of the latest headline to drown out the complex truths of history. So much so that even when the parallels between the past and the present are evident, the theatrics of the here and the now prevent a proper fleshing out of characters in the never-ending drama of our politics.
Read Barkha Dutt's column on Hindustan Times
16:25 Petrol bombs hurled at marriage hall :
Two 'petrol bombs' were today hurled at a marriage hall owned by a local BJP functionary in Ramanathapuram, police said today. There was no damage to property or any casualty as the crude bombs did not explode but the petrol-filled bottles broke into pieces, police said.
Police said some unidentified persons had come on motorcycles and had hurled the bombs at the hall owned by BJP Town secretary Suriya Prakash, where Hindu Makkal Katchi is holding a meeting in a day or two.
The owner had been receiving threats against giving the hall for a meeting of the Hindu outfit, but he had not taken it seriously, sources said. A case has been registered.
16:22 Live! Verdict on Salman's hit-and-run case on June 10:
A Mumbai sessions court will on June 10 deliver its verdict on actor Salman Khan's appeal against a magistrate's order for his retrial in the 2002 hit-and-run case under stringent charge of culpable homicide not amounting to murder. Sessions court judge U B Hejib had fixed June 10 for deciding the appeal after arguments concluded a month ago.
Advancing his argument against invoking the grave charge of 'culpable homicide not amounting to murder' (section 304 part II IPC), Ashok Mundargi had pleaded that the magistrate's order was "erroneous, bad in law and contrary to evidence on record."
The magistrate, he contended, had failed to appreciate that the actor had neither the intention (to kill people) nor the knowledge that his rash and negligent driving would kill a person and cause injury to four others.
The offence under this section attracts a ten-year jail term and is triable by a sessions court. Khan was earlier tried by a magistrate under lesser charge of causing death by negligence (Section 304A of IPC), that provides for a maximum punishment of two years in jail.
However, in a twist to the case, the metropolitan magistrate, after examining 17 witnesses, had brought forth the more serious charge of culpable homicide against the 47-year-old actor and transferred it to a sessions court for re-trial. Khan's lawyer also filed written submissions on the appeal and made oral arguments. Public Prosecutor Shankar Erande while opposing Khan's appeal said the magistrate had rightly invoked the charge of culpable homicide as he had committed a serious offence.
16:04 Live! Anna Hazare to start UP tour on June 23:
Social activist Anna Hazare would start a tour of Uttar Pradesh, the fourth phase of his Jantantra Yatra, on June 23. Anna's associate Ramdheeraj today said that the yatra, started with the objective of uniting youth and farmers to make the country corruption free, would enter Uttar Pradesh on the date after touring Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan and Uttarakhand.
The fourth phase of the yatra would cover Bareilly, Farukkhabad, Azamgarh, Mau, Ghazipur, Varanasi, Jaunpur and culminate at Allahabad with a public meeting at Anglo-Bengali inter college on July 4, he said. A convention of Jantantra Morcha workers would be held in Allahabad the next day, he also said.
15:11 Live! Rajnath demands PM's resignation over coal gate scam:
BJP President Rajnath Singh today demanded the resignation of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh over the coal gate scam in which the CBI's status report was vetted before being submitted to the Supreme Court.
"When the Prime Minister himself is under suspicion...why was the CBI report in the coal gate probe changed in former law Minister Ashwani Kumar's room?" BJP spokesperson Prakash Javadekar said, giving details of Singh's inaugural speech at the party national executive meeting in Panaji.
"After seeing the changes, the Supreme Court observed that the soul of the report has been changed. If after this observation, the Prime Minister still remains in his office, then it would be keeping aside morality. We demand that he (Singh) should immediately resign," he said.
14:56 Five killed in helicopter crash in Russia:
Five people died when a helicopter on a commercial flight crashed and burst into flames in a remote region of Far Eastern Russia, the emergency situations ministry said today.
Rescuers found the bodies of four crew members and one passenger in the burnt-out wreckage of the Mi-8 helicopter in the Khabarovsk region after a two-day search. The helicopter was carrying three tons of cargo, the ministry said. The helicopter had taken off from the village of Tugur on the Sea of Okhotsk and was flying to the remote inland village of Briakan when it crashed on Thursday.
The helicopter belonged to the flying club of an armed forces voluntary association. Military investigators have opened a probe into a breach of flight rules.
14:19 Live! Modi supporters protest outside Advani's residence:
Supporters of Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi have protested against senior BJP leader L K Advani's residence in New Delhi.
The octogenarian leader did not attend BJP's ongoing national executive meet in Goa citing health reasons where Modi could be appointed as the chief of the party's campaign committee.
13:25 Live! BJP downplays Advani's absence from Goa meet:
The Bharatiya Janata Party is trying to downplay senior leader L K Advani's absence from the ongoing national executive meeting in Panaji.
BJP spokesperson Prakash Javdekar while addressing mediapersons in Panaji, said that Advani wanted to attend the Goa meet, but doctors advised him not to strain himself.
Javdekar also said that party president Rajnath Singh has spoken with Advani and inquired about his health. He added that Congress is suffering from 'Modi-phobia'.
13:05 Kundra sends bouquet of apologies to Shilpa on birthday:
Under-fire Rajasthan Royals co-owner Raj Kundra today wished his Bollywood actress wife Shilpa Shetty a happy birthday and apologised for the disturbing developments in the past few days that saw the two being dragged into the IPL spot-fixing scandal.
Businessman Kundra, who is a British national, was caught in the betting net when Police claimed that he has confessed to have placed bets in IPL matches. Writing on Shilpa's twitter page, Kundra left wishes and apologies for the actress. "Wishing my gorgeous wife @theshilpashetty a very happy birthday, apologies for all this nonsense u have had to deal with.
Truth is coming out," he wrote. Kundra, who claims innocence, may lose his small stake in the IPL Franchise if he is found guilty of betting, the team had said yesterday. Kundra also thanked Bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachchan for his wishes for Shilpa.
"Thank you @SrBachchan sir your message on Shilpa's birthday gives her a smile that no other message can. It always means a lot to her. :)," he wrote.
12:38 IPL betting: Fresh summons for Vikram Agarwal:
Tamil Nadu Crime Branch-CID has issued fresh summons to hotelier Vikram Agarwal to appear for questioning next week in connection with the IPL betting case.
Last week, Agarwal, who is allegedly linked with IPL-betting and allowed some bookies to operate from his hotels, had sought time to appear before the CB-CID. "Yes. We have issued (summons)," a CB-CID official said today, confirming the development. Officials were tight-lipped on when they have asked Agarwal to appear.
Agarwal's two hotels in Chennai were raided after his alleged links with bookies came to light. The hotelier, summoned by the Mumbai crime branch, had appeared before it on May 31 in connection with their separate case on IPL-betting. Agarwal, a friend of CSK team principal Gurunath Meiyappan, who is in the dock for alleged betting, allegedly led the IPL betting syndicate in the southern city.
12:36 I'm fit; other reasons for skipping Goa meet: Yaswant:
Meanwhile, senior BJP leader Yashwant Sinha, considered close to L K Advani, told mediapersons in Delhi that he was absolutely fit, and "there could be other reasons for not attending the Goa meet'.
Many senior leaders of BJP have skipped the ongoing Goa national executive citing 'ill health', although it was apparent that some leaders like Yaswant Sinha, Sushma Swaraj, B C Khanduri, Jaswant Singh, Umar Bharti, Anant Kumar and Shatrughan Sinha were not completely in support of appointing Modi as the campaign committee chief, and chose to side with Advani.
12:31 Live! No decision on Modi in Advani's absence, Rajnath told:
The Advani camp within BJP has reportedly conveyed to party president Rajnath Singh that any decision on declaring Narendra Modi's as party's campaign panel chief should be made in the presence of the octogenarian leader.
Perhaps for the first time in Bharatiya Janata Party's history, L K Advani on Saturday skipped the party's national executive meeting against the backdrop of his pursued opposition to project Narendra Modi as head of the campaign committee for the next Lok Sabha elections.
85-year-old Advani cited "ill health" as the reason behind not attending the meeting in Panaji.
11:58 Live! Rajnath speaks to Nitish as BJP's Goa meet begins:
BJP president Rajnath Singh has telephoned NDA ally JD-U leader and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar. As the BJP began its crucial national executive meeting in Panaji, Rajnath apparently sought to allay the apprehensions of Nitish Kumar, who has made it very clear that his party is wary of Narendra Modi being projected as NDA's PM candidate for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.
JD-U sources told CNN-IBN that appointing the campaign panel chief is an internal matter of the BJP and they have no say in it.
11:07 IPL team owners should not indulge in betting: Shahrukh:
Bollywood superstar and Kolkata Knight Riders owner Shahrukh Khan has come out openly against the ongoing scandals that have rocked the Indian Premier League.
Speaking to Hindustan Times, Khan said that IPL team owners should not indulge in betting. He was speaking against the backdrop of Rajasthan Royals owbner Raj Kundra's reported admission of betting in the past 2-3 years.
It's undignifying for owners to take advantage of loopholes ijn the law, Khan said, CNN-IBN reported.
10:46 Live! Project Modi as BJP's face for LS polls: Parrikar:
Goa chief minister and Bharatiya Janata Party leader Manohar Parrikar has said that Narendra Modi should be projected as the party's face in the upcoming Lok Sabha election.
Perhaps for the first time in BJP's history, L K Advani on Saturday skipped the party's ongoing national executive meeting against the backdrop of his pursued opposition to project Narendra Modi as head of the campaign committee for the next Lok Sabha elections. 85-year-old Advani cited "ill health" as the reason behind not attending the meeting in Panaji.
Following suit, other prominent BJP leaders and known confidantes of Advani like B C Khanduri, Jaswant Singh and Uma Bharti have stayed away from the Goa meeting, also citing 'health reasons'.
10:05 Live! Sabotage suspected in China bus fire; toll rises to 47:
Chinese officials today said an initial probe into a fire in a crowded bus revealed "serious criminal case" and investigators suspects sabotage, as the death toll rose to 47.
A BRT (bus rapid transit) bus caught fire in the city of Xiamen in Fujian province while it was plying on a elevated bus lane yesterday, in one of the deadliest road accidents in the country recently.
The death toll this morning rose to 47. Thirty four people were injured. The investigation by experts showed that the fire was caused yesterday by gasoline while the bus used diesel engine.
A government official said the case was initially identified as a "serious criminal case" and further investigation is under way, state-run Xinhua news agency said. A working team led by State Councilor and Public Security Minister Guo Shengkun arrived in Xiamen today.
09:56 Live! Advani to skip BJP's crucial Goa meet:
Senior BJP leader L K Advani has decided to skip the party's ongoing national executive meeting in Goa citing health reasons, reports state.
Sources add that a final decision on Advani's presence on the second day of BJP's Goa conclave will be taken Sunday, which may appoint Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi as the party's election campaign chief.
04:09 2 dead, 4 wounded near Santa Monica College:
Two bodies were found Friday afternoon in a house that had been torched near Santa Monica College, and at least four people were wounded minutes later when the gunman opened fire on nearby traffic, Los Angeles officials said.
A suspect dressed in black, with "Life is a Gamble" on the back of his sweatshirt, was apprehended at the college's library after students dived for cover or ran amid a volley of gunfire. The suspect, described as a white male in his 20s, was reportedly wounded, but the extent of his injuries was not immediately known.
04:08 Full-page ad in NY Times backs Turkey protesters:
Supporters of the protests in Turkey ran a full-page ad in today's New York Times
to explain why the demonstrators are so angry with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his government.
The supporters raised more than USD 100,000 in five days over the Internet to pay for the ad. The title is "What's Happening in Turkey?", with smoke from a tear gas canister drifting across the words. "People of Turkey have spoken: we will not be oppressed," it reads.
It goes on to say that in the 10 years Erdogan has been in power, the people of Turkey have seen their civil rights and freedoms erode steadily, with many journalists, artists and elected officials arrested.
03:58 One dead in shooting in Southern California College:
At least one person has been killed and three more wounded in a shooting at a college in Southern California, some three miles away from where US President Barack Obama was attending a fundraiser.
An alleged gunman was taken into custody after shots were fired at Santa Monica College in South California yesterday, but police said a second gunman could still be on the loose there, local media reported.
03:58 New Pak PM committed on improving trade ties with India: US:
The new Prime Minister of Pakistan, Nawaz Sharif, is committed to improving trade ties with India and grant it the status of 'Most Favored Nation', a top official of the Obama Administration has said. In the past few years, India and Pakistan have made quite substantial progress in their trade, Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia, Robert Blake, said here yesterday.
"Now that we have a new Prime Minister in Pakistan who is committed to moving ahead on the trade front with India and to moving ahead on Most Favored Nation status, that's going to have quite a positive impact on trade between India and Pakistan," said Blake, an official serving under US President Barack Obama.
03:04 Google chief calls Internet spying threat to freedoms:
Google chief Larry Page branded Internet spying a threat to freedom and called for governments to be more revealing about what they try to find out about people's online activities.
"We understand that the US and other governments need to take action to protect their citizens' safety -- including sometimes by using surveillance," Page said in a blog post yesterday. "But the level of secrecy around the current legal procedures undermines the freedoms we all cherish."
03:04 At least 42 killed in China bus fire:
At least 42 people have been killed and more than 33 others injured after the bus they were traveling in burst into flames in China's southeastern Fujian Province, Chinese media reported Friday.
The fire reportedly broke out at the rear end of the bus as it was moving along an elevated bus lane in the city of Xiamen during evening rush hours. The fire is said to have spread quickly through the bus.
The stricken bus, from Xiamen's rapid transport system, was packed with passengers when the fire broke out. Some of the rescued passengers were quoted as saying that they had smelled gasolene in the bus before the fire broke out.
02:34 Aging Mars rover makes new water discoveries:
Scientists today called NASA's Opportunity rover gimpy and arthritic but hailed its new discoveries about early water on Mars made 10 years after it was launched toward the Red Planet.
The unmanned solar-powered vehicle has just analysed what may be its oldest rock ever, known as Esperance 6. It contains evidence that potentially life-supporting water once flowed in abundance, leaving clay minerals behind.
02:23 83 bodies dug up in Stalin-era mass graves in Warsaw:
Poland's Institute of National Remembrance (IPN) said today it had exhumed from mass graves in Warsaw the remains of 83 victims of a Stalin-era campaign of terror.
Most of those found in mass graves at the edge of Powazki military cemetery had been killed by a bullet to the neck, according to the IPN's forensic specialists, adding they would use DNA testing to establish their identities.
The bodies are suspected of belonging to victims of the post-war Stalinist reign of terror against Polish anti-Nazi and anti-Soviet partisans in the 1940s and 1950s.
01:59 At least 3 hurt in shooting at Southern California college:
At least three people were wounded and a suspect reportedly was in custody Friday after a shooting at Santa Monica College in Southern California, according to officials and media reports.
Authorities were "checking reports for an additional shooter," Sgt. Denise Joslin, a California Highway Patrol spokeswoman, told CNN. The school was under lockdown.
01:29 Iran's tactics in nuclear talks 'flawed': Velayati:
Iran's tactics in talks on its nuclear programme with the major powers have been "flawed" under the current negotiating team led by Saeed Jalili, presidential election candidate Ali Akbar Velayati said today.
"The current negotiations that are under way are definitely flawed," said Velayati, a conservative former foreign minister who is standing against Jalili in the June 14 election.
Velayati served as Iran's top diplomat for 16 years before being appointed an adviser to supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who has the final say on nuclear policy.
01:27 'Texas actress arrested in ricin case':
A woman who told FBI agents her husband had sent ricin-tainted letters to President Barack Obama and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg has been arrested for allegedly sending the letters herself, law enforcement officials said today.
It was not immediately clear what charges would be filed against Shannon Richardson of New Boston, Texas, for the letters. Two US law enforcement officials confirmed her arrest to The Associated Press but spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorised to speak publicly during the ongoing investigation.
01:11 Glitch-hit US nuclear plant shut down for good:
A California nuclear power plant shut down last year after a radiation leak will be permanently closed, its owners said today. Southern California Edison has been trying to fix problems which came to light last year after a minor leak in one reactor at the San Onofre plant, north of San Diego in southern California.
But SCE parent company Edison International's chairman Ted Craver said experts had finally concluded that they cannot resolve the problems quickly or comprehensively enough.
01:10 UN says Russia not allowed to send troops to Golan:
The United Nations said today that Russia cannot send troops to the Golan Heights peacekeeping force after President Vladimir Putin said he was ready to bolster the force.
Putin offered troops earlier today after Austria decided to withdraw its 377 soldiers from the UN Disengagement Observer Force between Syria and Israel because of growing spillover from the Syria conflict.
01:00 Turkey PM hits back at protest criticism:
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said today his Islamic-rooted government was open to "democratic demands" and hit back at EU criticism of his handling of a week of deadly unrest.
Amid international condemnation over rights abuses in the unrest, European Union Enlargement Commissioner Stefan Fule told Erdogan that excessive police force "has no place" in a democracy, urging a "swift and transparent" probe into the abuses in Turkey, a longtime EU hopeful.
"Peaceful demonstrations constitute a legitimate way for these groups to express their views in a democratic society. Excessive use of force by police against these demonstrations has no place in such a democracy," Fule said at an Istanbul conference.
00:26 California serial killer Richard Ramirez dies:
Richard Ramirez, the notorious serial killer known as the Night Stalker, died early today in a hospital, a state Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation official said. Ramirez, 53, "passed away this morning," San Quentin State Prison spokesman Lt. Sam Robinson told The Associated Press.
No other details were released. Ramirez had been taken from death row to Marin General Hospital.
00:24 5.9 quake hits off Taiwan:
A strong 5.9-magnitude earthquake struck off the east coast of Taiwan today, the US Geological Survey said. The quake hit at 00:38 am (2208 IST today) and was centred 98 kilometres east of the city of Hualian at a depth of 38 kilometres, USGS said.
It estimated there was a low likelihood of casualties and damage from the tremor, which struck 63 kilometres southwest of the Japanese town of Yonakuni in the Yaeyama Islands.
00:23 Army slams 'plot' to embroil Lebanon in Syria war:
The army warned today that a plot was being hatched to embroil Lebanon in the 26-month Syrian conflict, as fresh clashes linked to Syria in the northern port of Tripoli killed one person.
"The army command... calls on citizens to be wary of plots aimed at taking Lebanon backwards and dragging it into an absurd war," it said in a statement, adding that it would give an "armed response to any armed action".
"The army command has been trying for several months to work firmly, determinedly and patiently to prevent Lebanon being turned into a battlefield for regional conflicts and to prevent any spillover of the events in Syria," it said.
00:17 French president Hollande confuses Japan and China:
French president Francois Hollande has made an embarrassing slip of the tongue, speaking in French at a news conference in Tokyo.
Referring to the Algerian hostage crisis in January, in which 10 Japanese people were killed, he said he had expressed "the condolences of the French people to the Chinese people". He did not correct his mistake.
00:16 Iraq car bombs kill 15:
Three car bombs, including two blasts by suicide attackers, killed 15 people in Iraq today, the latest in a spike in violence that has sparked fears of all-out sectarian war.
The suicide car bombs struck a police checkpoint near Ramadi, the capital of mostly Sunni Anbar province, killing at least five policemen and wounding eight others, officials said.
And north of Baghdad, a parked vehicle rigged with explosives detonated in the restive town of Muqdadiyah, killing 10 Iranian pilgrims and wounded 30 others.
00:15 Assange: NSA, FBI programs amount to 'mass spying':
The court martial trial of Army Pfc. Bradley Manning, who is charged with handing over thousands of classified documents to Wikileaks, resumes Monday in Maryland.
Prosecutors at the Justice Department are reportedly trying to link Manning to Wikileaks founder Julian Assange and possibly to indict Assange himself -- for publishing classified material.Assange, who has been granted political asylum by Ecuador and has been living at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London for nearly a year, spoke to CBS This Morning Friday about recent, developing stories involving similar national security leaks in the US, namely the revelation Thursday that the National Security Agency and the FBI tapped into the servers of nine major Internet companies to allow analysts to track an individual's communications under a program known as PRISM.
"People have a right to understand what the government is doing in their name," Assange said of the PRISM revelation and new details about NSA collection of records of millions of US Verizon phone customers.